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Play to Your Strengths

How to identify what you do best

What are your strengths?

The advice to play to your strengths is all well and good, but in order to use your strengths at work, you first need to be able to identify them*.

While it can often feel uncomfortable singing your own praises, knowing what you are good at has a number of benefits. For example, research has shown that exercising and developing your strengths increases your wellbeing, motivation, and performance in the workplace*.

Equally, knowing your strengths also means that you recognise your weaknesses**. This increases your chances of success because you are more aware of where and when you need to ask for help**.

So, how can you work out what you do best?

One way is through the use of psychometric assessments*. Here are 3 types of assessments to help you identify your strengths:

1) Self-Report Assessments

While you could write a list of your strengths, it can be difficult to know where to start and even harder to know what is actually relevant to your role. Self-report assessments allow you to reflect on your behaviours, skills, and preferences in a structured format and focus on areas that are considered important in the workplace. For example, the Customer Service Aptitude Profile highlights an individual’s strengths and weaknesses by measuring competencies related to success within customer service roles.

2) Ability Tests

One of the most common forms of testing in the workplace is ability tests. These focus on specific abilities, such as verbal and numerical reasoning, and measure what an individual is currently capable of doing. This is useful if you want to objectively determine how good you are at a particular skill without relying on your own opinions. For example, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) uses 8 tasks to measure a person’s emotional intelligence abilities.

3) 360 Degree Assessments

Collecting feedback from colleagues is also an effective way to determine your strengths and weaknesses*. 360 degree assessments compare your self-perceptions to the perceptions of others, such as your peers, managers, and direct reports. These assessments can confirm your existing ideas about what you do well while also highlighting strengths and weaknesses that you had not previously considered. For example, the Discovery Leadership Profile measures 10 leadership competencies, providing an opportunity for individuals to better understand their strengths as a leader.

So, if you want to start playing to your strengths in the workplace, take the time today to learn what you do best.

*Miglianico, M., Dubreuil, P., Miquelon, P., Bakker, A. B., & Martin-Krumm, C. (2020). Strength use in the workplace: A literature review. Journal of Happiness Studies, 21(2), 737-764.

**Stein, S. J., & Book, H. E. (2011). The EQ edge: Emotional intelligence and your success. (3rd Edition). John Wiley & Sons.

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